Capitol preview: What to expect this week in Florida politics

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The capital gets quiet this week for the nation’s birthday after the frenzy of court-related activity the last couple of weeks.

But Sunday marks the start of a new fiscal year, and the budget goes into effect. Several new laws take effect over the weekend from one letting school districts allow student-led prayer to a ban on shackling pregnant women in prison.


‘OBAMACARE’ RULING: WHAT’S IT MEAN? At least from a Libertarian perspective. The Cato Institute is holding a forum on the “The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Ruling: What Does It All Mean?” in Washington on Monday. Panelists include David Rivkin, the constitutional lawyer whose op-ed gave Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum the idea for a legal plank for filing the suit, and who later represented Florida and the other states in the case. He’s among a group of panelists who will discuss constitutional powers in light of the ruling. (Monday, 1:30 p.m., Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.)

ST. JOHNS RIVER WMD LAND ASSESSMENT MEETING: The St. Johns River Water Management District is taking a look at its land holdings to determine whether it still makes sense to keep all of what it owns. The district is holding a public hearing on the issue Monday in Palm Bay, in Flagler County. (Monday, 6:30 p.m., City Council Chamber, 120 Malabar Rd., SE., Palm Bay.)

A.G. HOLLEY CLOSES: Monday is the date set for the transfer or release of 36 patients from the state tuberculosis hospital, A.G. Holley, which will then be closed. The Legislature mandated in HB 1263 this past year that the Department close A.G. Holley, which is in Lantana in Palm Beach County, by January 1, 2013, but the state is moving to shut it down in phases. Most of A.G. Holley’s 138 employees will lose their jobs July 2, with no severance, according to a recent Palm Beach Post story.

RUBIO BOOK TOUR: Sen. Marco Rubio continues his book tour on Monday.
12 p.m., BJ’s Wholesale Club, 4697 Millenia Plaza Way, Orlando.
3:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Lake Sumter Market Square, The Villages.
7:30 p.m., Books-A-Million, 1910 Wells Rd., Orange Park.


FOURTH DCA TO HEAR (“TRUMPED UP”?) CHARGE: A squabble between Donald Trump and a 72-year-old member of his swanky golf club heads to the 4th District Court of Appeal this week. The Donald is appealing a circuit court judge’s ruling that he owes Harry Theodoracopulos $200,000 after Trump kicked him out for what he said were repeated instances of belligerent behavior. A circuit judge found Trump’s behavior sub-par and ruled that Theodoracopulos was unfairly given the boot from the Trump International Gulf Club in 2009. (Tuesday, 10 a.m., 4th District Court of Appeal,1525 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd, West Palm Beach.)

RUBIO BOOK TOUR: Sen. Marco Rubio continues his book tour on Tuesday.
12 p.m., CDT, Books-A-Million, 811 E. 23 St., Panama City
3:30 p.m., CDT, Books-A-Million, 4250 Legendary Dr., Destin.
6:30 p.m., CDT, Barnes & Noble Cordova Crossing, 1200 Airport Blvd., Pensacola.


Wednesday is a state holiday. State government offices are closed for Independence Day.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: The United States of America enters its 237th year of independence Wednesday as Americans celebrate the Fourth of July. The fourth marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the official separation of Britain’s 13 American colonies from the Crown. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there will be approximately 313.9 million Americans on July 4, 2012, up from an original 2.5 million British subjects here in 1776. A lot has changed in those 236 years. Instead of British Tories fleeing the Revolutionary War, British tourists now come here in large numbers and the nation is our country’s sixth largest trading partner. Still, don’t tread on us.

MID-WEEK HOLIDAY – MORE TRAVEL: With the Independence Day holiday following mid-week, creating the artificially long “holiday weekend” of five full days, AAA predicts more travel this year. If you count Tuesday as the start, creating a six-day period, an estimated 1.8 million Floridians will be driving somewhere this week for the holiday, with another 300,000 or so going somewhere by plane, bus, train or cruise ship. AAA said the reduced price of gasoline also is making holiday travel more attractive, with petrol prices 30 percent lower in Florida this year than they were a year ago.


SUPREME COURT OPINIONS: The Florida Supreme Court releases opinions. (Thursday, 11 a.m.)

NEWSPAPER EXECS MEET IN DESTIN: The Southeast Press Convention starts Thursday in Destin, bringing newspaper executives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi together to trade ideas. The session opens on Thursday, but the news highlight is likely to be the Friday speech by Gov. Rick Scott. (Thursday-Saturday, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin.)

ST. JOHNS RIVER WMD LAND ASSESSMENT MEETING: The St. Johns River Water Management District takes its look at its land holdings to Winter Garden on Thursday. (Thursday, 6 p.m., City Commission Chamber, 300 West Plant St. Winter Garden.)


SCOTT SPEAKS TO NEWSPAPER EXECS: Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to speak Friday to the Southeastern Press Convention in Destin. (Friday, 9 a.m., Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Destin.)

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.